• Cataract/Anterior Segment, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Validated home visual acuity tests extend teleophthalmology’s reach. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has led to substantial increases in teleophthalmology visits, researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University conducted validation exercises for 3 widely used at-home visual acuity (VA) tests. A total of 112 participants self-administered all 3 at-home tests and also had VA measured at eye clinics. The at-home test results correlated with the office test results within 1 line of Snellen acuity, and participants generally found the tests easy to use, as well. The authors conclude that “The COVID-19 pandemic has created an opportunity for expansion of teleophthalmology services due to the necessity of limiting in-person exposures….Validated at-home tests provide an important first step in the expansion of teleophthalmology.” JAMA Ophthalmology

    Most cataract surgery candidates are not eager to undergo surgery immediately. Investigators conducted a US-based, cross-sectional survey of 278 people aged ≥65 years with no prior history of cataract surgery. Respondents were asked about their desire to have cataract surgery, expectations and fears about the surgery, and whether they would use a presurgical prep kit if asked to do so. There was a middling desire to have cataract surgery (median 2.2 on a 5-point Likert scale); just 8% of respondents were eager to have surgery right away. Respondents expressed high fears and a high likelihood of delaying the procedure; however, they expressed a willingness to adhere to presurgical prep instructions. These results reveal patients’ tendency to avoid cataract care due to fear, leading to potentially harmful outcomes, but patients also are amenable to doing what is needed to improve outcomes. Clinical Ophthalmology

    Medical students are positive about ophthalmology, but few choose it as a specialty. Medical students at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in Canada were surveyed on their perceptions of ophthalmology as a potential future career choice. Of the 135 respondents, more than 80% had positive feelings about ophthalmology in general, but only 8% had an interest in ophthalmology as a specialty. Respondents felt that they had not received enough exposure to ophthalmology and ophthalmic topics in their coursework, and that ophthalmology in general had a low inpatient-to-outpatient ratio, but they did rate the specialty high in terms of equitable gender distribution, flexibility, lifestyle, and impact on patients. These findings can serve as a guide for medical schools to steer interested students towards a career in ophthalmology. BMC Medical Education

    Do your patients suffer from ocular allergies? Consider this antihistamine-releasing contact lens. In March, the first drug-containing contact lens was approved for use in the United States. In a phase 3 study whose results were published in 2019, these daily-use disposable lenses containing the antihistamine ketotifen were found to provide significant reductions in allergy-related ocular itching at 15 minutes after insertion, with this effect lasting with prolonged lens use (12 hours). While these lenses are currently available in Canada and Japan, no date for their US release has been announced yet. WIRED, Cornea

    How does COVID-19 affect retinal vascularization? A team of investigators in Spain decided to answer that question through a case-control study of 96 patients aged 18–55 years with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 virus-related pneumonia and 27 controls who were negative for the virus. Color retinal photographs, OCT, and OCT angiography centered on the fovea were used to assess the retina. While none of the photographs or OCT images in the patients with COVID-19 infection showed evidence of visual injuries, there was a correlation between greater reductions in fovea-centered vascular density and increased severity of COVID-19 infection. British Journal of Ophthalmology

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